About The Artist
The Story Begins With A Guitar
This is a story that begins as a mystery, a family's determination more than 80 years after a relative had passed. Their quest took off when they found a vintage guitar that was rumored to have been made for their relative, Nathalie Trow by the Larson Guitar Company in Chicago. Decades have passed and to date, no photo of the person has been found. But some details have emerged that enable a time line of sorts of her life and career as a musician.
She was born in July of 1877 in Eureka, Wisconsin to parents Jerome and Elizabeth Mary (LeFevre) Trow. The Trow family at time was involved in the lumber business run by Jerome's brother, Alvin S. Trow. Eventually the family's business turned to mining, requiring the family to travel through out the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
In August of 1894, Alice Trow, Nathalie's sister, had been hired to be the assistant principal at the high school for the upcoming school year.
Newspaper reports indicate she was living in Tomahawk Lake in October 1894 and was spending a visit at the local high school in Hurley, WI with her sister, Alice Louise Trow. During her visit the two sisters appeared to have attended the semi-monthly teachers meeting at the high school. One of them ("Miss Trow") was reported to have made an interesting observation ("excellent thoughts") on school management, "...dwelling at length on the subject of concert work in recitation and the tone of voice of the teacher in the school room."
Later in that same article, it was reported that Nathalie had entertained the students on Wednesday morning "...with some excellent music on the guitar. Miss Nathalie is also a singer being gifted with a very fine contralto voice."
Nathalie did a return visit to the school at another teacher's meeting in February of 1895. She again entertained the teachers and students with her guitar and vocals.
In November of 1895, she made an appearance at the Literary Society in Hurley that met in the Presbyterian Church instead of the usual venue at the Court House. The attendance at that meeting was lower than normal. But of the three items on the agenda, Nathalie was performed a "...finely executed a fine guitar solo." A Ms. Kelly provided some news of the week. A debate was also held as to whether women should have the right to vote. Professors Prideaux and Bridgman argued that they should; Misses Case and Duffy took the opposite view point.
The local newspaper reported that in November of 1895, Nathalie was serving as a cadet for the kindergarten class.
1896 continued to show Nathalie performing in the local community. They 'young people' did a version of Longellow's Hiawatha in pantomime at the Opera House on February 17 to benefit the Presbyterian Sunday School. There were five 'scenes' to this production. Nathalie did a guitar solo in the first scene. A review of the production was published on Friday, February 21. Nathalie "...responded to an encore to her guitar solo."
Later on February 21, she was part of another group of performers at Company H 5th Infantry of the Michigan National Guard Armory in Ironwood, Michigan. Nathalie was on the program doing a guitar solo. It was reported that some of "...Ironwood's best talent, assisted by Miss Nathalie Trow..." provided the musical entertainment prior to the guard's drill exhibition.
In April of 1896, she was a part of another 'social entertainment' for the Hurley Spring Season Society. The program was 'well received', but again, the reviewer took pains to point out the person that stood out "...especially was Miss Nathalie Trow the guitar soloist greeted with cheers."
April 23, 1896 saw another entertainment program put on with the young people of the M. E. Church. Nathalie was in Part II of the program, doing a guitar solo.
Marriage to Lowe Whiting
The local newspaper reported that Nathalie had married Lowe Whiting on October 11, 1896 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The reports indicated it took the local folks by surprise but well wishes were expressed to the couple. They were to move to Mexico. Lowe was an engineer on the Panama Canal project.
November of 1898, Nathalie was visiting the family of Dr. J.M. Cunningham in Parsons, Kansas. The article mentions she her residence was in Minneapolis at the time. The Parsons newspaper wrote of several society events that took place in the first week of October. The highlight was the reception and musical given by Mrs. E. W. Boardman at the A.O.U.W. hall. The article lists the numbers that Nathalie played for the audience: "Siege of Sebastopol," "Constellation," and "Spring Song."
Her marriage to Lowe gradually deteriorated and was the subject of news in the Milwaukee paper. He was a miner and traveled frequently. She would be with him, but only if she could find him. And it seemed whenever she caught up with him, she was treated with contempt. By early 1907 she had grown weary of it all - tired, exhausted, her nerves and physical well-being going down hill. The marriage went down hill almost from the start. He had gone to Old Mexico, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Michigan, Wisconsin, Panama and one the list went. He often left her for another job, she was left without means of support and her health would begin failing.
In 1905, he went to work on the Panama Canal. She followed, but she was subjected to violent abuse and neglect. At one point, she asked the authorities for help. As one might guess, alcohol played a role - he even took his son to saloons and bought him whiskey to drink. After Panama, he went to New York, then Crystal Falls, Michigan.
On April 3, 1907, the circuit court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin granted a divorce to Nathalie from her husband. She was given custody of their two children.
Marriage to Paul Schioler
On April 29, 1907, she married Paul Schioler in St. Paul, Minnesota. The marriage seemed contentious. When Paul was stationed in Winnipeg, a news article in May 14, 1914, tells of an uncle taking their daughter, Carla, away to Denmark at the behest of Paul. In fact, a passenger list on Ancestry.com shows that Carla arrived in New York on March 10, 1911 from Copenhagen, Denmark (departure date was February 23, 1911).
However, the drama continued. In September of 1913, she and Carla fled to Spokane, Washington. She applied for employment at the women's employment bureau at city hall. It was reported, "Mrs. Schioler was fashionably attired and seemed well educated. She applied for work of a clerical nature to enable her to support herself and child pending the establishing of a legal residence in Spokane." She had the sympathy of Mayor Hindley's secretary who then agreed to try and help.
The article quoted Nathalie:
"Two years ago my little girl was taken by her father to his former home in Denmark and was returned only after I appealed to the American consul at Winnipeg."She went on to say that she had been trailed by detectives "...connected with a well-known Spokane agency." She claimed Paul would not do anything to support her unless Nathalie gave up custody of their child.
In May of 1914, Carla became a ward of the Winnipeg courts, which also decided she shall be brought up in the Presbyterian faith. Nathalie and Paul were legally separated at the time, but both had access to see her during reasonable hours.
In May of 1918, Carla, then in Grade 4 at St. Mary's School, wrote a letter about her dog.
"I am going to tell you about our dog, named Boston. He is only six months old and is very evenly marked. He is a Boston toy bulldog. I have been teaching him a few tricks and he is learning to walk on his hind legs now. One day I was teaching him how to catch a ball; the ball was celluloid and he ran off with it and in a few minutes, there was nothing left but an old bitten piece of celluloid."
On Friday, April 11, 1919, Paul filed a suit asking for an annulment of the marriage. At that time, he was part of the Canadian expeditionary forces and in private life, a manager for the Scully Steel and Iron company. He had filed suit in Canada for custody of their child. But in October 1920, he was fined for not providing support for Nathalie.
Paul Christian Birch Schioler
1928 - Return to Performing
The period covering her two marriages were absent any news of her performing anywhere. In 1928, Nathalie (then about 51 or 52 years of age) was being heard on "The Journal Want Ad Club Program" on WTMJ. The Black Hills Orchestra played the reels, jigs and square dances to a 'lively tune.' "There is not a number too old for them." They know them all. Another act was Fritz, 'the accordion man', but no other details mentioned.
The 1928 article touted a new musical star was going to be on the show, Natalie Whiting, "who knows how to make a guitar laugh or cry or sing, will play for you. You haven't heard before at this hour, but once you've heard you'll always come back for more." The article almost implies she had appeared on WTMJ at other times.
Indications are that she also was heard over radio station WHAD, 500 watt station on the Marquette University campus and jointly owned/operated by The Milwaukee Journal according to a 1925 article.
Around this time, Vesey Walker was making a name for himself in the Milwaukee music scene. It appears he arranged to have Natalie join two Hawaiian artists, Prof. Sol Nawahine and Hawaiian Charlie. They were also giving music lessons. In February of 1929, the trio was advertised to be giving lessons under the auspices of Vesey Walker, Inc. at 434 Broadway in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Vesey Walker (B: June 7, 1982 — D: November 11, 1977) was born in England and came to the United States when he was 12. His World War I draft registration card he was working as a musician in Sioux City, Iowa with the Hugo Players. At some point, he moved to Milwaukee where he became known for the bands he formed. In 1955, Walt Disney asked him to form a band to play for the first two weeks Disneyland opened. The band was so well received, he stayed there until he retired in 1970.
Sol (Solomon) Nawahine (B: April 15, 1898 — D: October 11, 1960) played Hawaiian guitar and did make a recording released on the Broadway (8030) label around 1929 with Joe Ikeole ("Sweet Hawaiian Dreams" b/w "Hawaiian Love"). He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and died in St. Paul, Minnesota.
From this point on, it appears she made her way to Chicago. The 1930 census shows she and her son John were living on Lake Park Avenue in Chicago. She indicated she was working as a music teacher. The Larson NTW Special was made for her in 1933.
She had health problems near the end and passed away on March 7, 1937 and is buried in an unmarked grave at the St. Joseph's Cemetery in River Grove, Illinois.
John Nininger Whiting (B: October 29, 1897 — D: November 23, 1954)
His funeral was held at Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Los Angeles; burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Bud Lowe Whiting (B: July 21, 1901 — D: March 5, 1953)
His funeral was held at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Los Angeles. He was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery as well.
Katherine Elizabeth Whiting (B: Feb 1899 — D: July 28, 1900)
Carla Elizabeth Trow Schioler (B: February 3, 1908 — D: January 27, 1921)
Jerome Oscar Trow
Credits & Sources
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